KFP Juice Bar: Gov. Beshear Moves LG Coleman


On Thursday Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, D-Kentucky, stepped down from her role as dual cabinet secretary of Education and Workforce Development, a move some in the GOP see as potential protection for Gov. Andy Beshear from unemployment controversy.

In the weeks leading up to the move staffers close to Coleman had been moved from their roles in the cabinet posts and transferred to Coleman’s executive office staff. The Beshear administration also reorganized the Kentucky Democratic Party as they got set to officially launch Andy Beshear’s re-election campaign.

10/24 tweet from @LtGovColeman

Beshear told reporters on Thursday that Coleman’s move was to help “with a booming economy.” Republicans see Beshear positioning Coleman away from harsh criticism for tens of thousands in unpaid unemployment claims and helping some cut the line for unemployment.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, R-Kentucky, spokesperson Sean Southard publicly questioned the news about Coleman’s move.

Earlier this year many in Frankfort speculated that Beshear could drop Coleman from the ticket in 2023 as he seeks re-election. Rocky Adkins often serves as Beshear’s second-in-command in his role as special advisor to the governor.

Heather Dearing was moved from her position as the Dir. of Legislative Affairs before the announcement and has been moved into Coleman’s office. Dearing’s new title, reflected in an open portal salary search, will be Administrative Assistant to the Lt. Governor, where she will make $85,000.

Dearing is not the only recent move within the Beshear administration. Elissa Fochtman no longer works for the Beshear administration where she served as Deputy Legislative Director in the Governor’s Office. Fochtman is now working as the Eastern Regional Finance Director for Raphael Warnock for U.S. Senate in Georiga. Fochtman served as the Deputy Finance Director she also served as “body person” for the Beshear Coleman campaign in 2019.

Graham Shelby was hired by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services as an Executive Advisor. The rumor is Shelby will be writing speeches for Beshear. Shelby will earn $75,000, according to a salary search.

Kentucky Fried Politics previously reported the staffing changes at the Kentucky Democratic Party. Sebastian Kitchen, who worked as deputy communications director for Gov. Beshear became executive director of the Party on Monday, Oct. 4, replacing Mary Nishimuta.

Kenny Colston left the KDP in September, he served as the Democratic Party’s Digitial Director from July 2018 to October 2021. Colston now works for Run the World, as a digital strategist. Colston’s position has not yet been filled. Other staff changes at the Kentucky Democratic Party are rumored to be taking place.

TESTIFYING BEFORE CONGRESS: Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams will appear before the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration on Tuesday. The scheduled hearing is titled “Emerging Threats in Election Administration.” Adams will appear virtually from the State Capitol. Live viewing can be found at rules.senate.gov.

ON THE MOVE: The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce promoted John Cox to Director of Public Affairs. Cox joined the Chamber in Dec. 2019 as a manager of public affairs. Before joining the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce he served as the communications director for the Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet from 2018 to 2019 and for the Kentucky Senate Majority Caucus from 2014 to 2018.

MAYORAL RACE: Beshear connected staff in the Louisville Mayoral Election. With an open seat for Louisville Mayor – many Democrats have filed to run for the seat. Two of the campaigns are employing staff connected to Gov. Andy Beshear. Carla Dearing has hired Eric Hyers who served as campaign manager for Andy Beshear’s 2019 gubernatorial victory against Matt Bevin. Jack Dulworth is helping the campaign of David Nicholson as a strategist.

LiUNA Local 576, which represents 1,000 local members, is throwing their support behind Craig Greenberg and has formally endorsed his candidacy for Mayor of Louisville. This is one of the first major labor endorsements of the 2022 Louisville Mayor’s race.

THE GREAT RESIGNATION – Kentucky leads the nation in employees who quit their jobs, likely to pursue other better-paying opportunities. The percentage of workers who quit jumped 1.4 percentage points from July to 4.5 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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